AMBLESIDE, England (AP) — Heavy snow in northern England forced motorists to seek shelter or sleep in their cars and knocked out power to over 2,500 customers, officials said Sunday.

Trucks plodded around in the snow and blocked highways. Drivers reported taking hours to complete short journeys, while others were forced to find shelter along their route or in their vehicles.

“It really feels like you’re walking through the Alps or a ski resort at the moment,” said Harrison Ward in the Lake District community of Ambleside. “As soon as a few cars have stopped, crashed or been left behind, everything comes to a standstill.”

Ant Brett said he had been stuck in his car for 19 hours since Saturday afternoon as he drove from Essex to Cumbria, a journey that should have taken just over five hours.

“I was on my way to a family wedding – it’s fair to say I didn’t make it,” he told the BBC. “I’m down to the last bit of water and have to ration it. I know the emergency services are busy but we were just left here with no help.”

Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service said it worked throughout the night to free drivers from cars stuck in deep snow. Cumbria Police Commissioner Andy Wilkinson said the storm was more severe than predicted and people were urged not to travel to the county on Sunday.

Wilkinson said road workers were verbally abused by some drivers.

“We understand people’s frustration during this time,” Wilkinson said. “However, authorities are working hard to improve the situation in Cumbria and are also taking into account the difficult road conditions in their response.”

Schools, churches and a scout hut served as emergency shelter for stranded travelers.

Erick Mattinson hunkered down in a church in Ambleside after driving off to pick up his wife and a friend after their bus broke down. It took him 5.5 hours to get there from Keswick, a journey that would normally take 30 minutes.

“The snow is terrible,” he told Sky News. The only saving grace, he said, was that a store in town sold them some wine.

According to Electricity North West, over 2,500 people were without power in Cumbria. It is expected that the power supply will be restored by Sunday evening at the latest.

The Met Office, the UK’s weather agency, issued a weather warning for ice in parts of the Midlands, northern England, much of north and central Wales and eastern Scotland from Sunday evening until midday on Monday.

Source : apnews.com

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